11 of the best places in the world to star gaze

Laura Hampson

The thing about living in London is there's rarely an opportunity to see the stars.

With light pollution and regular pollution, there is a permanent barrier between our eyes and the night sky that surrounds us.

As this week marks 50 years since the Apollo 11 mission, and half a century since Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon , we've rounded up the best places in the world to star gaze.

From New Zealand to Cornwall, below are some of the world's darkest places that offer the perfect vantage point to see Earth's original night lights.

Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand

(Unsplash)

In 2012, this 4,300 square kilometre area was designated at the southern hemisphere's first and only dark sky reserve - one of only 12 in the world. A dark sky reserve is where light pollution is strictly controlled in the area to allow astronomical research to take place. To enter the reserve, you can take a star gazing tour that starts at just £23 - and watch the Milky Way dance before your eyes.

Find out more here, mackenzienz.com/

Atacama Desert, Chile

(Pixabay)

The Atacama Desert - one of our must-visit October destinations - is also the home of South America's largest public observatory. Learn about the Zodiac, look through telescopes and just bask under the light of the glistening stars.

Namibrand reserve, Namibia

(Unsplash)

The NamibRand Nature Reserve in south Namibia is the only International Dark Sky Reserve on the African continent, meaning it is one of the best places in the world to star gaze. Around 1,000 Namibian school children visit the reserve each year to view the lights - which boasts stunning views of Jupiter and Saturn - and tourists can also get in on the action.

Find out more here, namibrand.com/

Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii

(Unsplash)

This dormant volcano is the highest peak in Hawaii and offers a free star gazing session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm to 10pm, weather permitting. Telescopes are provided for an evening watching the stars.

Find out more here, ifa.hawaii.edu/

La Palma, Canary Islands

(Shutterstock)

The Canary Islands are home to the 'clearest skies in Europe', so much so that they are protected under the Law for the Astronomical Quality of the IAC Observatories. The low level of light pollution in the area means that the islands are home to three starlight reserves - with La Palma and Tenerife being the home of the reserves.

To find out more, visit hellocanaryislands.com/

Uluru, Australia

(Unsplash)

Australia is known for its expansive outback and Uluru sits right in the middle. Take a journey across the Milky Way and spot the famed Southern Cross while looking out for shooting stars.

Find out more here, australia.com/

Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

(Unsplash)

Watch the stars fill the sky over Mount Everest in what could possibly be the most epic star gazing spot in the world. Mountainous Nepalese villages are the ideal spot for star gazing as they are a far cry from light pollution.

Jasper National Park, Canada

(Shutterstock)

The second-largest dark sky preserve in the world, Jasper National Park in Canada is the ideal spot for a bit of star gazing. October is the perfect time to celebrate the skies with the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival.

Find out more here, jasper.travel/

St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, UK

(Unsplash)

The south-western tip of the UK is free from light pollution, making it the perfect close-to-home spot to look at constellations.

Refuge des Merveilles, Tende, France

(Unsplash/Denis Degioanni)

Denis Degioanni, the photographer of this pictures, said: “I took this shot in a middle of “the vallée des merveilles” in the south Alps. I couldn’t see anything neither hear a single sound, everything was so quiet and so dark. But gradually I started to hear a breath, a whisper. And I think for the first time in my life I heard the stars sing.”

Yosemite National Park, United States

(Unsplash)

Bring along a star chart and search for constellations in one of the US' most beautiful national parks.

Find out more here, nps.gov/